"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
Two days removed from what I can without reservation say was the hardest year of my life, I cannot help but think of this classic quote from one the greatest writers in the history of the English language. Just as the classic story from Dickens, there were two distinct worlds with unique characters and events at play, that seemed at odds with one another but in fact were so much the same.
I found myself this year going between two worlds, each seemingly more challenging than the other. In the world of education, a third straight year of funding cuts and increased workload for no more pay stretched my mental and physical capacity to the max, while at home, the world of toddlers and honey-do's demanded just as much of my limited resources. There seemed to be no easy moments, no place existed that was an escape from the demands at hand. Months went by with no more than 6 hours of sleep a night and a likely average of around 5 hours or less. Papers piled up on my desk at work, waiting to be graded. Lesson plans went from "pretty good and challenging" to "eh, okay I guess this will do" to "well, this will keep them busy for a while so I can get my grading done." At home a fence is still waiting to be stained, after an epic spring day of power-washing it. Michelle is still waiting for a mother's day raised garden bed to be put in, I promise, it's coming :).
Of course, something had to give... 50 miles per week of running dropped to 20, then to zero. My workouts consisted of the occasional longish bike ride and a 3-4 day per week ride to work and back. My elite state of ultra marathon fitness has diminished significantly, and my goals athletically for the year have been basically wiped out. That's not to say I've let myself completely go, as I have managed to maintain some basic fitness despite it all.
Spiritually I have struggled as well, but there has been some good things going in terms of a new men's Bible study group meeting at my new favorite shop, Rolling H Cycles in downtown Nampa. Michelle and I have been able to meet up with a new couples small group out of our church, and although my daily devotions haven't been great, there is hope. Its is reassuring to know that Jesus is not a "coat" that I can take off when life gets busy, but rather a complete indwelling within me that I cannot live without.
There have been some cool moments this spring that would likely make an interesting blog report, but for now I just want to keep it simple. It was a hard year, that is for sure, but the worst of the storm is now over and it is time to enjoy the summer. Yeah for teaching!